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Bath and bedtime 'routine' with 3 very young children

(12 Posts)
insywinsyspider Sun 09-Aug-09 21:20:03

ds1 is 3yr 2months, ds2 19months, ds3 8wks and I'm struggling at bed and bathtime, what did you do? at this age they are so wildly different we are really feeling outnumbered, ds1 wants a story that ds2 doesn't want to listen to so he kicks off (especailly if very tired) so we end up taking one each whilst ds3 is shouting for milk - its getting quite stressful as it seems ds3 wants feeding at exact time we're trying to get other 2 to bed then ds3 is overtired and takes ages to have milk and settle - any ideas?

Momino Sun 09-Aug-09 21:35:17

oh, don't have much of a 'solution' for you but can at least sympathise. we have 3 under 3.5, DH doesn't get back from work usually until after DD's are in bed.

I often have at least 2 of the 3 screaming at bedtime and the trickiest is DD3 who - like yours- gets overtired as I've been bathing the older 2.

DD3 is now 3 months old and only now I feel like I may have a good system that works for the 3. I try to get dd3 ready for bed first. I feed her about 5/6pm whilst older DDs are having supper then a quick feed before she goes down at 7pm. it means I don't start getting older DDs ready for bed until 7 but I guess that's how it's got to be done. they go to bed a bit later but it means they're awake when DH gets home to say goodnight.

hope someone else who's organised will post other advice. take care!

thisisyesterday Sun 09-Aug-09 21:50:19

can you not feed the baby whilst doing a story for the older 2?

i have a 4.5yr old, a 20m old and an 8 week old and I either give ds3 a good feed and then sort the older 2 out, or feed him whilst doing their story.

ds1 and ds2 get put in bed and then I sit in the chair and read to them, thankfully they're both happy with whatever story they get lol, but if yours aren't then you'd have the same problem regardless of whether you had the baby or not surely?

ellenjames Sun 09-Aug-09 21:52:08

must admit i made it as easy as poss for myself! I have 4yr old dd, 3yr old ds1 and 4 month old ds2. Your baby is very young so dont worry yet! My older 2 share a room so go to bed together and are happy to read to themselves and chatter til they fall asleep. Then i just sort the baby out after, and explain to them that baby needs mummy, and they understand that. I dont have strict bed times as husband works shifts and its the hols at the mo. I must admit the baby says downstairs with us as he sleeps in our room, as only 2 bedrooms and goes to bed when i do at the moment. Just take everything in ur stride and dont worry go with the flow!

CloudDragon Sun 09-Aug-09 21:55:50

1. they dont need a bath every night
2. Feed baby a bit
3. get eldest in PJs/book/bed - They dont have to listen to the stories, get them one each and a toy to play with if not listening to story
4. put them in bed,
5. Feed baby and put to bed

sweetkitty Sun 09-Aug-09 21:59:04

Agree make life as easy as possible for yourself, I bath on alternate days, mine have always went to bed a bit later as DP gets home late so he can help out.

When DD3 was little I would feed her first about 7pm so she was happy and if not sleeping at least content, older two would get toast and milk downstairs, then story then upstairs to bed.

read story downstairs before DS gets tired then pop him straight into bed?

Feed DS3 first?

I think it's all a bit of a try and see what works for you

MuddlingThru Sun 09-Aug-09 22:10:02

DS1 was 3.2 and DD 22 months when DS2 was born. It was pretty frantic at that time of night. I found allowing extra time for everything made it less stressful as you weren't up against the clock before one or the other was over tired. So I think I did tea about 4.30 and bath about 5.30. If everything went smoothly then you can always have a bit of extra telly or books but if anyone is tired you can pack them off a bit earlier. There were many evenings where I had DS1 one side, DD the other side for bedtime stories and DS3 squished in the middle feeding.

yomellamoHelly Sun 09-Aug-09 22:31:06

Have a 5yo, a 2 1/2 yo and a 4 mo. Tea at 4:30. Bath straight after middle one finished (the slower eater). Sometimes feed youngest at same time (for peaceful life) - otherwise hold her. All bathed together straight after- middle in first, then youngest; youngest out; oldest in; middle then oldest out. All into lounge for milk and tv. Oldest and middle drink by themselves. I feed youngest. Youngest first to bed. Middle then gets story and cuddle and then to bed. Oldest gets little bit more tv, story and cuddle and then to bed. Youngest in bed about 6:15; middle 6:30; oldest 7:00. Is a production line!

insywinsyspider Mon 10-Aug-09 22:05:18

thisisyesterday wrt stories yes I would have same problem without ds3 but I think it all becomes more rushed and stressful if I have to listen to him cry whilst I try and sort out other 2

ds1 and 2 are in the same room so the 'routine' has to follow for both of them

Had a break through tonight of bathing ds3 in blow up baby bath we had for camping on bathroom floor whilst other 2 in bath, all ready for milk and stories at same time then

problem is settling ds3 I don't seem to have a baby that will feed a little have bath and then sleep/sit happily till other two are in bed and wait for rest of feed, even if he doesn't want feeding he's tired and wants settling

ellenjames later bedtime is prob good idea except ds2 really needs to be asleep by 7pm or he is a PITA

clouddragon I know most people don't bath their children every night but I really like the routine it gives us, a chance to wash of suncream etc and a good wind down, it worked so well for ds1 and ds2 before baby I don't really want to stop it - probably making life more difficult for myself smile but want to see if we can make it work

yomellamoHelly the production line idea sounds like a great one smile

thanks everyone for your ideas x

3HotCrossBuns Sat 19-Sep-09 10:16:08

I found this thread browsing around MN and was interested to read your posts. Insywinsy - how are you getting on now? Is it getting easier as DS3 gets older?

I have DS1 4.3, DS2 2.5 and DD 7 weeks today. Bath/bed time is quite stressful and I've yet to do the whole process on my own. At the moment DD gets 1 boob at 5 when the boys are eating, all up for bath around 6, no set routine for in/out of bath but DD is out and dressed first, boys out of bath then get dressed and do teeth. If DH is home then I feed DD (fullest boob first and most night s both boobs) and settle her and he reads to the boys and puts them to bed. If DH is not home then we all watch tv in my bed until he is!!! So far the latest he has got back is just after 7. Last night was the first night that DD went to sleep without 40 odd mins of cuddling in the chair.

DS2 is a total ratbag about going to bed and we have tantrums with him taking off his nappy, refusing to go into his cot, wanting another story, wanting more tv etc so if I was on my own he would get left to yell whilst I dealt with the other 2.

I'm hoping as DD gets bigger she will get better at settling herself to sleep after her feed and then the boys can have my full attention...

insywinsyspider Sun 20-Sep-09 23:01:24

3hotcrossbuns - it does get so so much easier, I'd almost forgotten those first weeks until I read my post! and ds3 is only 13wks but I can now do bed and bath on my own.

Boys still have bath every night, I prep everything (ie PJ's in bathroom and books laid out) in the morning when they are getting dressed.
so it goes... all in bathroom, ds1 on toilet, ds2 on potty, ds3 in and out of bath quite quickly then top up bath and ds1 and 2 in bath whilst I finish drying and dressing ds3. ds3 now happy to wait whilst I get other two sorted (last feed before bath was 3pm no top ups just gets him windy and confused), I find its quicker to do teeth in bath (I guess they are more contained grin) then take it in turns who has to get out first. ds2 will sit with milk beaker whilst do ds1 or ds1 will sit with bit of water and book whilst I do ds2.
ds3 in boucy chair whilst I read stories, ds2 now for some reason happy to listen to stories or if being PITA then has to go in cot whilst I finish (that solved that one)
ds1 takes himself to toilet whilst I get ds2 to finish milk and then tuck them in, take ds3 downstairs to feed, both sides and back again till he's asleep. ds3 isn't very good at settling himself - if boys playing up then he tends to be fed and go in cot to watch his light and sound mobile for a bit till I can settle him.
if dh is home then I tend to bath ds3 and he does bigger 2, or I express so I can do ds1 and 2

HTH and for what its worth I found 2.5yrs the hardest age so far, ds1 was a complete nightmare sleeper at that age, something to do with terrible twos, new baby and developing imagination I think. We eventually were able to get hime to entertain himself 'reading' some books by torch light whilst I settled ds2 (only had 2 at that time) and then could go back in and sort him out after...

3HotCrossBuns Wed 23-Sep-09 13:26:46

yes that helps! I got DH to put batteries in the light and sound mobile 2 nights ago and last night DD lay there in her cot watching it whilst I finished bathing the boys and got them out. My nanny used to do the boys teeth in the bath (when I working-feels like a past life now!!) but Dh thinks it's unhygenic - huh to him, anything that makes life a little easier I say!

Anyway, with every week that passes DD gets more settled etc so by the time we get to 13 weeks I (hopefully wink) will be managing more on my own.

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